Archive for October 24, 2011

Despite IRA cut, Calasiao mulls bigger 2012 budget

Calasiao Mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
CALASIAO- Despite the more than P4 million reduction in its share from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), this town increased its proposed budget for next year by P8 million.
Mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay confidently said that his administration could compensate for the slash in IRA, and that there will be no employees to be laid-off.
He said the budget of P132 million for next year from the P125 million this year, is attainable.
Macanlalay explained that the computation of the next year’s budget did not include the business and other taxes this town can get from the mammoth retail giant Robinson that will open for business next year.
Macanlalay did not discount a supplemental budget from the revenues of Robinson in case this town’s needs more funds.

October 24, 2011 at 9:51 am Leave a comment


Dr. Joseph Roland Mejia(5th from right), medical center chief of the Region I Medical Center(R1MC), receives from Dagupan City Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez the symbolic check amounting to more than P6-million, a part of the P10-million funds from the Dangerous Drugs Board(DDB) under the leadership of Secretary Antonio Villar Jr., during a simple ceremony at the R1MC last October 19. The said funds were earlier turned-over by Villar to Fernandez for the construction of Drug Rehabilitation Center in the city. Others in photo are some city officials and other officials from the medical center.CESAR RAMIREZ

October 24, 2011 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

ORTIGOZA: Are we criminally liable for Libel?

Board Member (BM) Alfonso Bince sued me, Yolly Sotelo (Publisher), and Brando Cortez (Editor-in-Chief) of this paper recently at the prosecutor‘s office in Rosales, Pangasinan.
The case he filed was Libel. It was a result of my column “Most BMs received P40 monthly from Jueteng – BM Uy”
The P40 was ridiculous and incredible but I rectified it in my August 14, 2011 column after some members of the Sangguniang Panlalalwigan (SP) or the Provincial Board threatened me with libel.
I said there it was a typographical error. I explained that what BM Danny Uy told me and other media men in several occasions that most of his fellow BMs were recipient of the P40 thousand payola from the illegal number game jueteng.
Libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, (Article 234 of the Revised Penal Code).
It is a case handles by the Regional Trial Court even its penalty of up to Prision correctional medium period (4 years and two months.), or a fine of up to P6, 000 or both.
Although it shows its prison term is under the ambit of the lesser Municipal Trial Court, it probably shows that written slander is a special case because it involves special people – the journalists (ahem!).
If BM Bince wants the court to convict us, he should meet all the four elements of criminal libel.
A) There must be defamatory Imputation; B) Publicity of the Libelous Matter; C) The Person Libeled must be Identified; D) There must be Malice on the Part of the Accused.
Since there was already publication of my disputed column, I’ll answer elements A, C, and D with my very best knowledge.
On Element A: There was no defamatory imputation. I wrote that article in good faith and without malice.
Bm Uy for several times has been telling me and some media colleagues with bravados that he did not receive even a single centavo from jueteng intended monthly for the member of the SP.
I included Uy’s statements in my column that most of his colleagues received payolas to collaborate my observation of the indifference of the SP to the government sanctioned Loterya ng Bayan (LNB).
“Is the absence of payola the reason that made members of the august body critical of the LNB?” I posed there.
What I asked in my column was privileged (it means no action for libel). Besides, it was in the form of a question and a matter of public interest concerning public officials.
As what Borjal vs. Court of Appeal (301 SCRAA 1 January 14, 1999 says….”Fair comments on matters of interest are privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander.
I did not concoct the statement of BM Uy, there were media men and non media men who already went public by corroborating what I exposed that they heard too that Uy said that most of his colleague were recipients of the illegal number game.
On Element C : It says that the person libeled must be identified. Bm Bince was not identified as recipient of the payola in that article.
On the first row of the first (1) paragraph of my column I wrote “Recently, I overheard board member Alfonso Bince adversely commenting on the surge of Lotery ng Bayan (LNB) in Pangasinan. “Loterya ng Mayayaman, he incessantly and derisively quipped to two radio stations where he was interviewed the other week in phone patch”.
On the fifth (5) paragraph of the same row I posed “Does Bince’s dislike for LNB reflect the mentality of his colleague whose names are preceded with the adjective “Honorable”?”
“On the eight (8) paragraph of the same row I asked” Is the absence of payola the reason that members of the august body critical of LNB?”
Now, where’s the name of BM Bince here that he wrote on paragraph D of his Affidavit Complaint (AC):
“ Thus the above column article specifically mentioning his name is benefitting from the operation of illegal number game as jueteng is blatant lie and falsehood and constitutes malicious imputation of a crime which tends to cause his dishonor, discredit, and contempt from his constituents in the 6th congressional district of Pangasinan from more than twenty (20) years and in the entire province and all possible readers of Northern watch, who by reason of which he has suffered mental anguish and wounded feelings”
How could Bince accuse me and company that I dragged his name on my column when I only mentioned him on the fifth paragraph as critical of the LNB and not its beneficiary?
And that fifth and eight paragraphs was even a poser?
It means a query, a question I made not for him but to his colleagues.
You my dear readers can browse again what the fifth (5) paragraph of my column said and you connect that to paragraph 8, and- son of a gun – you would be enlightened, too.
I was no longer talking about Bince there but his colleagues.
The AC of the offended lawmaker at Paragraph A was misleading that the prosecutor who would resolve the complaint should take notice.
He juxtaposed my statement on the first paragraph of row 1of my column where I mentioned his name as critical to the LNB to paragraph six of the same row of Uy’s statement that most if not all of his colleagues at the provincial board received P40, 000 monthly payola from a jueteng operator.
Holly Molly, the 1st paragraph was a different topic to the 6th paragraph!
On Element D: I did write that article without malice but with a patriotic duty to unmask the hypocrisy of the members of the SP of being critical or indifferent to LNB but not to jueteng.
As what my kumpadre Edmund Burke says : “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
If the complaint of Bince could not meet any one of the four elements then the prosecutor should throw the complaint to the waste basket like dung to save valuable scarce prosecutorial resources.
Oh, by the way Bince said on the first paragraph of his AC that he is a resident of Rosales, Pangasinan where he filed his AC.
He failed to mention that he is pubic official.
Paragraph 3 of Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code said that were one of the offended parties is public officer”….the action should be filled in the Court of First Instance (precursor of the RTC) where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the article is printed and first published…”.
Bince failed also to mention that he has a government funded office in Rosales. By overlooking his public position and government office at his AC, could our defense lawyers ask for the immediate dismissal in the name of jurisdiction for this harassment that took the attention already of the national and local media and other entity who mull to organize a rally by inviting personalities like Archbishop Oscar Cruz to denounce what a member of the provincial board has been doing to us?
Bince should have stated the location of his public office that could either be in Lingayen –where the provincial capitol is located, or the one in Rosales but he failed to mention it that he has one there.
Venue in criminal cases is the essential element of jurisdiction. The limitation of choice of venue for government official is intended to protect the accused by means of out- of- town libel suits, meaning complaints filed in remote places (Agbayani vs. Sayo 89, SCRA 699 (919789).
Otherwise, this wannabe political columnist surmised that the case should be dismissed pronto by the prosecutor at Rosales so that we could get back to our duty to write what is true without the albatross breathing on our neck.
You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at You can send comments too at

October 24, 2011 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

De Venecia announces project to solve Tapuac’s flooding

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY- The woes of residents in Brgy. Tapuac here who suffered perennial flooding might be over after Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia announced recently a P16.5 million packages of flood control projects near Trauma Hospital & Specialist Center up to Amado Street.

Tapuac, particularly the entire stretch of Amado, has been vulnerable to floods.

“The problem in our barangay is the drainage system that should carry the water out was not completed because the private owner of a fishpond (where the exit of the drainage is located) stopped its construction,” Village councilman Sydney Lomboy said,

Lomboy lamented the effects of the drainage project to the residents, including the piles of garbage at the back of Lyceum Northwestern University.

Brgy. Captain Jake Reyes said that flooding in the village is hopeless as Tapuac is located in a lower level part of the city. But he was quick to say that other low level barangays like Malued and Mangin are worst hit every time there is typhoon.

Flood prone villages in Dagupan are Salisay, Tebeng, Bacayao , Norte, Bacayao Sur, Lasip Grande, Lasip Chico , and Pogo Grande .

“What we need is to backfill areas like Green Fields but people there are not amenable because it is quite expensive,” Reyes said.

Reyes also decried the putting of sand bags thrown in a drainage system that should have mitigated the floods in Tapuac. He said these bags clogged the drainage that aggravated the flooding in his village.
A source who asked anonymity blamed the other causes of the flood to owners of big business like private schools who constructed buildings at areas that once a fishpond and a catch basin every time rain falls.

Meanwhile, de Venecia has allotted P147 million for the construction of five major road and drainage system projects in the city, the first of which is in Bonuan Gueset to be completed in December this year.

October 24, 2011 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

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